Friday, May 25, 2018

Memorial Day Weekend Reading










1.  This is an informative article on what may have happened to those 1500 minors lost by the refugee resettlement office.  Some of the news is good, i.e., that these children are lost only in the sense that the refugee resettlement office didn't keep tabs on them once they were relocated, so that many of them could be quite safe.  On the other hand, the ones who ran away or some of those who were placed with strangers may not be safe.

The Trump administration's decision to separate parents from children at the border* (in the absence of visas etc.) is going to make things much worse, however, because a) there will be many more children who must be placed somewhere and b) because these children are likely to be younger than unaccompanied minors, and therefore more vulnerable.

2.  Another interesting article on Trump's immigration policies, this time about his relationship with Kirstjen Nielsen**, the Homeland Security Secretary.  I particularly liked this quote:

It remains unclear, according to several people familiar with the situation, how much longer the relationship can last, but the strains illustrate the difficulty faced by Trump subordinates who are tasked with delivering policy solutions to match his most soaring promises.
The president has a very rudimentary understanding of what the border is all about and how you secure it,” said a former Department of Homeland Security staffer who worked closely with Nielsen. “And she’s also not one of the border fire-eaters that have his ear right now.
“She’s in an impossible, no-win situation.”

Bolds are mine, and stress the sentence which really is not a bug but a feature:  Many who voted for Trump are equally ignorant of immigration policies, and Trump needs to deliver to that group.

3.  Several political "firsts" for women have happened recently.  Stacey Abrams, in Georgia,  became the first African-American woman nominated by a major party to be the governor of a state. 

Barbara D. Underwood became the first female New York state attorney general, though for a dismal reason:  The resignation of Eric T. Schneiderman who has been accused of sexual (or, rather, physical and sexual) violence against his past partners.

More generally, many more women have entered politics since the 2016 election.  One of the silver linings of the Trump cloud (the biggest cloud, the best cloud, of course).

4.  Jordan Peterson's past mentor now regrets that mentoring.  

5.  Exit polls from the Irish abortion referendum strongly suggest that abortion will become more legal in Ireland which currently has extremely restrictive laws about abortion.  I take that as good news.

6.  The honeysuckle is flowering in my garden.  I planted it for the scent which is evocative, one of those scents which you cannot smell if you actively try.  You must wait patiently and then — for a few seconds — you smell it and almost understand the minds of the night-feeding hawk moths, its major lovers (pollinators).  Solomon's seals share both the flowering time and the evocative nature of their scents.  To catch it in the spring air you must go out at nightfall.

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* A horrible and heartless decision.  This should go without saying, but these days it must be said.

** The relationship may not be bad just because Trump gets angry at anyone not showing proper allegiance to him and his beliefs, but also because Nielsen is a woman.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin: Two Republican US Senate Candidates Would Ban All Abortions.


Wisconsin's Republican US Senate candidates Kevin Nicholson and Leah Vukmir are fighting for the votes of the forced-birthers*.  They have both told a pro-life advocacy group that they favor a ban on abortions with no exceptions.

Kevin and Leah want American girls and women to have a future where they, too,  can be raped and then die giving birth to the rapist's child, as recently happened to a young girl in Paraguay.  And Paraguay's laws aren't even quite as stringent as the ones Kevin and Leah desire here:

They would allow no abortion, ever.


Dear North Korea. Trump Writes A Letter.


I want to hear Daffy Duck read T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land.  It would be hilarious. 

Trump's letter,  telling the North Koreans that Trump would pull out of the planned summit because of hurt feelings, should also be read in Daffy Duck voice.  This bit is the most delicious one:

Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting. Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place. You talk about nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.
It sounds good as a Daffy Duck speech, doesn't it?   First the hurt feelings, then the mystery sentence:

Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place.

And, finally, reminding the North Koreans that Trump's war penis is far bigger and more frightening.  Such a good job, Donald.

I cope with the Trump Reich by using gallows humor.  Lots of Americans approve of his work as the president*, and that's what makes gallows humor a good survival tool.  Or alcohol, I guess, but goddesses don't drink as we cannot get drunk.

At least we now have a natural experiment likely to give us an answer to the question:  Can a know-nothing amoral narcissist successfully run this country?  Perhaps to the ground.

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* I have noticed that people, in general, don't understand the time lag in various economic policies.  The boom we are enjoying now is mostly due to earlier events, not Trump's first year in absolute power.  But he gets the credit for that.

That might be one reason why so many approve of Trump, but the most important reason is the overwhelming tribalism in American politics.  If it's your team, then it must be right.  Just leave your brain home when you go to watch the political football games and you will feel fine.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Three Unexamined Assumptions in The Theory Of Male-Incels-As-Unserved-Customers-In-The-Sexual-Marketplace


1.  The smelly debate about incels (the involuntarily celibate, but only male), mass killings (by the incels, as defined above) and  the market place for sex (as a description of all heterosexual partnering!)  is based on this implicit assumption which needs to be made explicit:

That there are now many more young male incels than in the past???

I have seen no data on that, but the marriage rates do not support that assumption.  It's quite possible that the number of men who can't get unhindered access to the exact pussy they think they deserve has stayed fairly constant over time.  Only now that group is much more vocal and vicious, at least online.

It also has the support of such deep thinkers as Jordan Peterson, who has recommended enforced monogamy as the solution to this lack-of-pussy problem. So the most unbalanced incels now get validation not only from their fellow-sufferers, but from conservative mega-stars!

That validation even extends to at least "understanding" how violence is the predictable response from these newly created vast masses of incels.  I looked at Peterson's own website (Google Peterson and enforced monogamy) where he attacks the recent NYT article on his opinions and explains to us why everything he says is just recommending your ordinary monogamy because it keeps men from killing so much.  As compared to a system where a small percentage of men hoard all women, just to be clear*.



2.  It's all science based, mind you, and Peterson proves it by quoting the thoughts of such eminent evolutionary psychologists as Daly and Wilson and Buss.  Buss, for example, has argued that women are hard-wired for hypergamy, always going for the top guys in the hierarchy, and Peterson takes this argument for evidence**.

There's a difference between a theory and evidence, by the way, though that  eludes professor Peterson here***.

Indeed, the whole incel debate is based on very little evidence of any kind, but many, many hidden assumptions, and one of those really is the assumption that some minority of men is currently monopolizing all women, and that this is because women are hard-wired to go for high status men only.

And alternative theories can explain why historically speaking women have tended to want to marry up in the hierarchies of education or income:

The simplest one points out that in the past it was largely men who had legal access to higher education or greater wealth or incomes.  This left marriage one of the only ways for women to improve their economic position.  Thus, it's not necessary to assume that women have little gold-digger genes inside their brains to explain why we would find hypergamy among women in the past.



3.  You may have noticed how the problem of involuntary celibacy is framed as a purely heterosexual male problem.  It's a problem of not enough pussy for men.

In reality,  the majority of those who are celibate but would prefer not to be are quite likely to be women.  That is because women, on average, tend to outlive their partners, and because there are also younger women, not just younger men, who cannot find  sexual partners.

The online incels don't care about those women's access to sex, both because for them women are mere objects to be desired and hated, but also because of the basic evolutionary psychology framework the incel world is built on.  Peterson uses the same framework, both on his site and in his recent book:

The assumption that ONLY women make choices about their sexual partners, and that ONLY women, therefore, have the power to reject.

Men, on the other hand, are always willing to f**k anything that breathes, I guess?

It would be fun to see how all those sexual marketplace conservatives would react if we started demanding a fairer distribution of male bodies for all those older female incels.  While the terminology of sexual markets may initially seem gender-neutral, in practice what those guys worry about is access to pussy.

&&&

I wrote this yesterday before a migraine attack felled me for sixteen hours.  On re-reading it, I wonder what made me bother.  Was it my pre-migraine state? 

I get that I'm trying to point out how my long-term focus on bad evolutionary psychology has had an important point, how ignoring the problems in that approach has turned it into the basic philosophy of incels and most of the woman-hating sites, and how we now see it applied to real living people, with bad consequences.

I can also see how not thinking carefully about facts and statistics allows the incel sites to believe their weird theories, in particular if they never go out and try to actually date women or see, outside in flesh-space,  how all sorts of people, many not physically attractive based on our cultural standards, are happily paired and have children.

And it's frightening that a wide debate about the incels can go on without, seemingly, any actual data about how common being a young male incel today is, as compared to the past.  It's hair-raisingly frightening that gurus such as Peterson can calmly argue that mass violence is a natural reaction to blue balls in young men.

It's also disheartening that Peterson's arguments for the return of what essentially amounts to patriarchy is viewed by many as a message from a prophet.

But still. Anyway, here it is, and I hope it will keep my chattering inner muse Erato (he with the sexy tattoos and wild nose rings) silent for a few days.


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*  Which, weirdly, he assumes to be the prevailing situation in the US and Canada?  Or does he?  I'm not sure.  But it's worth pointing out that we do have socially enforced monogamy in those countries.  Polygamy is frowned upon, and the majority of people either marry at some point or enter a long-term relationship with one other person.

**  As do all the online incels.  It's the few lucky Chads (high status men) who have so much sex with all the Tracys (desirable women with big boobs) that the Tracys are used up (though not the Chads) and have stretched out pussies by the age thirty when the incels are expected to marry these leftovers.

***  Several studies show that mate preferences between men and women are becoming more similar (and quite rapidly) in the more gender-egalitarian countries (where women can more easily acquire wealth in ways other than through marriage) .  This is direct evidence against the assumption that hypergamy is hard-wired in female brains.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Spurned Advances Provoked Texas School Shooting? My Take.




Spurned advances provoked Texas school shooting, victim's mother says

That's the recent Reuter's headline on the Santa Fe butchery.  The story itself has more:

Sadie Rodriguez, the mother of Shana Fisher, 16, told the newspaper that her daughter rejected four months of aggressive advances from accused shooter Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, at the Santa Fe high school.
Fisher finally stood up to him and embarrassed him in class, the newspaper quoted her mother as writing in a private message to the Times.

“A week later he opens fire on everyone he didn’t like,” she said. “Shana being the first one.”
Rodriguez could not independently be reached for comment.
If true, it would be the second school shooting in recent months driven by such rejection.
In March, a 17-year-old Maryland high school student used his father’s gun to shoot and kill a female student with whom he had been in a recently ended relationship.

The bolds are mine.  And so is the ice-cold rage such careless writing provokes in me.  In fact, it drives me into writing this response:


Friday, May 18, 2018

Last Day of My Fund-Raising Week. A Gratitude Post.


Cool slithery snake energy* to all who have donated already!   There's still time!

If I were good at the self-marketing business, I would paint myself as the last bulwark (like that word!) against the chaos of multiple Jordan Petersons, the last tiny sane voice online, the last person mutilating the English language on a daily basis, the last goddess still being worshiped.

But I am terrible at marketing.  So just give already.  Don't give if you have no money.  You can tell me how wonderful I am instead.

More seriously, my thanks to you all, both for reading, for thinking, for educating me, for arguing,  and for giving me chocolate money.

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* This can be used for health or for avoiding tricky situations or even for getting boring chores to go faster.

On Lobsters, Dragons And Witches. More Jordan Peterson!



This is a good article on Jordan Peterson and on  his slightly-inebriated-prophet style of speaking and thinking. 

Peterson is the adored father figure of zillions of young conservative (mostly white) men, because he tells them that patriarchal hierarchies are fair, based on competence and that women are biologically unsuited to climb them.

That removes half the competition.  Then all those men need to do is to clean their rooms, stand straight, and speak the truth.  That last bit seems to include telling women that they belong at home.

If you would like to learn more about Prophet Peterson, this is a good first post.  My three-part book review of his best-selling tome begins here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Day Six of My Fund-Raising Week: On Bolton's Smart Choices And Trump's Smart Utterances.


1.  The midterm elections are coming.  It's therefore logical that 

The White House eliminated the position of cybersecurity coordinator on the National Security Council on Tuesday, doing away with a post central to developing policy to defend against increasingly sophisticated digital attacks and the use of offensive cyber weapons.

A memorandum circulated by an aide to the new national security adviser, John R. Bolton, said the post was no longer considered necessary because lower-level officials had already made cybersecurity issues a “core function” of the president’s national security team.
Cybersecurity experts and members of Congress said they were mystified by the move, though some suggested Mr. Bolton did not want any competitive power centers emerging inside the national security apparatus.
The decision was criticized by Mark R. Warner, a senator from Virginia and the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee. “I don’t see how getting rid of the top cyber official in the White House does anything to make our country safer from cyber threats,” he wrote on Twitter.

Bolton may, indeed, have higher priorities than the security of US elections (such as being the biggest fish in his pond), especially when the likely outsider influence would not hurt his party.   But yeah, he may also not be aware of the severity of cyber threats.

But whatever Bolton's rationalizations might be, this particular decision looks awful to those who prefer democracy to dictatorships or kleptocracies.

2.   And the president of the United States speaks.  If it's possible to return to a more adult and courteous political discourse one day, this era will provide rich mining for those who wish to do doctoral theses on the worst statements of American presidents.  That's the silver lining to the Trump cloud.

3.   A picture of my pear galette should go here, to make you more likely to give me your hard-earned moneys.  But alas, it has been eaten.

Instead, have a cat picture






Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Day Five of The Fund-Raising Week. What You Don't Know Can't Hurt You?



1.  Here's another of those hidden foundation cracks the Trump administration is causing by demolishing the government:

The Trump administration has killed NASA's Carbon Monitoring System, which was responsible for compiling data from separate satellite and aircraft measurements of CO2 and methane emission across the Earth.
This program allowed scientists to have a picture of the flow of carbon all over Earth.

...
This move will make it harder for nations to be able to verify that quotas are being met according to the promises in the Paris climate accords. Every nation on Earth, except the US, is part of the accord.
This is acting like a father/mother who does not wish to know about his/her child's high fever so destroys the thermometer.  Well, actually it's worse, because it is all about short-term profit at the expense of the future survival of human civilizations.